Faces of BME – Jemila Abdulai

Meet Jemila Abdulai, a vibrant member of the biomedical engineering community at the University of Toronto. Her aspirations upon graduating from the MEng program include venturing into the medical device industry, where she aims to apply her skills and knowledge for meaningful contributions. Originally from Kasoa, Ghana, Jemila shares her rich cultural heritage with her Canadian peers. Beyond academics, Jemila actively engages in extracurricular activities, notably as a member of the Black Graduate Student Association, fostering connections and contributing to the vibrant community at UofT.

You are a Mastercard Scholar, how has that funding helped you in graduate school?

Being a Mastercard Scholar is truly a blessing for which I am immensely grateful. The foundation’s support has allowed me to concentrate on my studies without the burden of concerns like living expenses. It has provided me the privilege to fully immerse myself in my academic pursuits.

What is your goal upon graduating from the MEng program?

My primary goal is to leverage the skills and knowledge acquired through the MEng program to secure a position in the medical device industry. I aspire to grow both as a biomedical engineer and as an individual, contributing meaningfully to the field.

Photo credit: Qin Dai

What were some challenges when you arrived in Canada? How did you overcome them?

Navigating a new country presented its challenges upon my arrival in Canada. Everything was unfamiliar, and I faced difficulties in acclimating to my new environment. However, the warmth and support from my friends and everyone I encountered made the adjustment much smoother. Everyone was so sweet and in no time I felt at home.

Photo credit: Qin Dai

What is your home country and home city? How would you describe it to people who have never been there before?

I come from Ghana, specifically from the city of Kasoa. Ghanaians are known for their warm and welcoming nature, embracing life in all its facets. Our vibrant community is rich in culture, spanning from delectable cuisine and soulful music to diverse local dialects. It’s safe to say that in Ghana, we truly have it all.

Can you teach us 1-2 local jargon used in your country/city?


It means understand (e.g.  Chaley you barb – my friend, do you understand?)


It means embarrassment (e.g. Yawa oooo! – Oh, that’s so embarrassing)

Are there any traditional attires you would like to showcase? What types of occasions would you wear them?

The Kente holds a special place as one of the most renowned traditional attires in Ghana. Worn by various ethnic groups, this vibrant and colorful fabric is prominently featured during significant occasions such as festivals, funerals, national events, and other cultural celebrations. Its rich cultural significance and intricate patterns make the Kente a symbol of pride and tradition in Ghanaian heritage.

Photo credit: Qin Dai

Are you involved in any other extracurricular activities?

I am actively involved as a member of the Black Graduate Student Association. Additionally, I enthusiastically participate in various activities and events organized by both the school and faculty. Engaging in these initiatives allows me to contribute to the vibrant community and foster meaningful connections with fellow students.

Photo credit: Qin Dai